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Illustrator Spotlight with Jannik Stegen

Process, style, color and influences: Get to know the talent behind the illustrations we love

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you found your way to a creative career.

I am a freelance illustrator from Heidelberg. I love to draw quirky characters and to explore interesting compositions. However, when I was younger, I always wanted to become a doctor. After school I started studying medicine and it took me 6 full semesters to realize that it wasn’t for me. I then quit and started studying visual communication, since I always loved drawing and was very creative. At this point I didn’t know that illustration as a field even exists, and my university also didn’t encourage it. I accidentally stumbled upon the Illustrator Bene Rohlmann and went to Berlin to do an internship with him. I immediately fell in love when he introduced me to this career path, and have been going after it since then. That was almost 4 years ago.

How did you find your medium and style, and who and what influenced you?

I always loved drawing weird characters and animals. In my hometown there are many works of the artist Limow that inspired me a lot as a kid. I also enjoy cartoons like Adventure Time, and I used to draw a lot of manga. Somehow that all came together to shape my work as it is today.

What subjects are you most fascinated with?

I really love animals. I often take walks to watch birds or whatever creature I can spot. But most of the time I get ideas very randomly. I was recently waiting for an appointment at a doctor's office when a big moth landed right on my glasses. That inspired me to draw the girl with the glasses full of bugs.

What illustration trend are you either loving or hating at the moment?

I think everybody should draw what inspires them. The only thing I really hate are illustrations that look super generic or are obvious rip-offs.

How do you create characters, what inspires them, how do you use color?

Having a sketchbook is very important for me. I like to try out new things, and draw a lot of random characters. I use the ones I like most for my pieces, and some of them obviously stick around. The colors I use are mostly the same, coming from a small palette I put together over two years ago. Somehow I don’t run out of exciting ways to combine them.

If you had to pick a favorite project, which one are you most proud of and why?

Probably the first couple Illustrations I made for Die Zeit last year. It’s a very popular Newspaper in Germany and lots of friends and family reached out to me after finding my work there. It was very special for me to create something so widespread. The Illustrations turned out great as well.

Describe your dream project.

I would love to do a huge billboard, or mural; something that gets seen a lot and shapes the public space.

What’s next for you?

Things have really taken off for me over the course of the last year and some exciting opportunities have opened up. I also really enjoy the direction my work is taking recently, and have a lot of fun creating. So hopefully I can look forward to lots of nice projects!

Rapid Fire Round!

Morning person or night owl?

Morning person

Favorite word

Never thought about it. Bird maybe?

Lunch or dinner?


A celebrity you’d like to have a drink with

Masashi Kishimoto (he made naruto)

If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?


Sweet or savory?


Are you a thinker or doer?

I am an over thinker 

Go-to karaoke song

Trouble by Taylor swift (not really my kind of music but I know the lyrics)

City break or beach holiday?

My favorite place to visit is Valencia. It’s a city that has a beach.

What superpower would you like to have?


Thank you Jannik!



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Illustrator Spotlight with Lucia Pham

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